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Day 120 Wed-Thurs 30-31 Jan 2019 A lovely day's sail - but strong weather tomorrow

Wednesday 9pm Wind backed a while ago - now abaft the beam and we've slowed down to around 4.7kt. Seas are only about 2m (6ft) so feeling pretty calm with mainly just a slight rocking motion - the occasional bigger wave comes by, but not often.

We're passing over an undersea mountain - a 'seamount' - about 20-30 miles wide - looks like an old volcano. Crater area comes to within less than 600ft of sea surface, rising up steeply from the seafloor which is 4,000-6,000ft deep nearby. Not a problem in present sea conditions but probably something I'd avoid in stormy weather in case it caused even rougher seas.

Thursday 2:45am Adjusted Fred - wind is a little stronger and has backed more to NW - we're making 5.2kt. Spoke to several radio stations on 7160kHz, including Brazil and Newfoundland, and was delighted to get an unexpected call from Randy, KH6RC, on the Big Island of Hawaii, who assured me he was recovering well - good to hear, Randy!

'African Starling' is passing to our S, 23ml off, on its way E to Durban - well clear of us! Back to my bunk after another small adjustment to Fred - wind is still slowly backing...

8am Another adjustment of Fred needed - wind has backed further. Speed down again ...on a very broad reach. Wind keeps shifting slightly - need plenty of patience after an adjustment to wait and see what happens, otherwise it gets frustrating if I jump in too quickly and adjust a bit more - only to find it's now too much and I have to undo it. Patience, patience....!

A few prions around, with occasional albatross, but noticeably fewer birds than close to Gough Island. That short visit was wonderful for the variety of birds seen close to and being visited by the pod of about a dozen Dusky dolphins was great also. They were just cruising along and probably came by 'Nereida' just to check us out - dolphins are very sociable beings and usually come to visit the boat if they're somewhere close by. This kind I've not seen before - they would blow hard as they surfaced for air and they were rather chunky in appearance, not as sleek-looking as are some other dolphins. They were all dark, except for the white patch just behind their very rounded and swept back dorsal fin.

9:15am All of a sudden, cloud layer disappeared completely! Must have been a thin layer - some remnants still seen over to starboard (downwind). Blue sky and sunshine - very pleasant.

Expecting a bit of a 'blow' to bring in February - 20kt wind by midnight tonight, increasing over Friday to 30kt, with 35kt gusts expected until midday Saturday, with a period of heavy rain.

Seas will be very rough, becoming 3.5m/12ft over Saturday, with a period of just 5sec around midday Friday, gradually becoming 10 sec by midday Saturday. The only good news, if I can call it that, is that the period is shortest (5sec) when the seas are smallest (2-2.5m) and the period gets slowly longer as the waves get bigger. Clearly, it will be an unpleasant day or two.... (Short wave period = steep, close, uncomfortable waves...)

12:30pm Been busy going into 'lockdown' mode - making sure that anything remotely heavy and loose is put away or secured... just in case. Also making sure I've cooked food ready for the next couple of days. I'll be stowing the pressure cooker - it's too big and heavy to leave out.
Lovely sailing just now - bright sun, good wind - we're making 5.5-6kt now with the increased wind.

Pity such strong weather is on its way. I'll be furling in the genoa bit by bit, as wind becomes stronger, and then switch to the (furling) staysail.

1:30pm Of course, seeing wind well up and Nereida making 7.2kt, being the cautious person I am, I furled in some genoa - so then the wind died back down again.....it was just a gust...!#@%&*! Unfurl... sheet in...

Cargo vessel 'Graecia Aeterna' is heading E to Sosin (China?) to N of us. Was going to pass within 5 mls but has changed course slightly to pass 10 mls away now - must have seen our very non-linear course-keeping and is keeping well off - excellent!

4:30pm Still a lovely sunny day. Wind is down a bit but will make up for that tonight and tomorrow, I'm sure!

1900GMT (=1800LT) - end of Day 120. We made 115 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 120 (by daily DMGs): 11,270 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 2523 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 2363 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 2467 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 2170 n.ml. to WNW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 1287 n.ml. to ENE; Gough Island: 162 n.ml. to W

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/01/31 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-11.54S LONGITUDE: 006-21.65W COURSE: 091T SPEED: 5.3kt
BARO: 1016.3hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 21.0C SEA_TEMP: 17.0C
COMMENT: Pleasant sunny, downwind sailing. Strong weather on its way for tomorrow

Written by : Jeanne Socrates